April 24, 2020

Joe Biden’s China Problem Just Got Bigger

Joe Biden spent more than four decades in Washington standing up for the Chinese instead of American workers. To cover up his terrible record, his campaign is churning out videos negative towards China that “rely heavily on images of people of Asian descent,” as The New York Times would put it if Biden were a Republican.

The Biden campaign hopes you forget that Biden himself previously characterized this kind of anti-China tactic as “xenophobic.” And there’s another problem: Biden’s left-wing base is going nuts. They won’t let him even pretend to be tough on China:

  • “Biden has made the mistake of over-compensating by going full-blast in criticizing China. This is the likely source of the xenophobia of the ad,” wrote The Nation’s Jeet Heer. “Biden has fallen into Trump’s trap… Biden’s strategy of responding to this attack with xenophobia will only further fragment his base.”
  • “If you are trying to reform your past history of racist policymaking, like your 1994 crime bill, you had better do some homework,” said a senior ACLU lawyer, accusing Biden of “stoking fears” and “foment[ing] racist scapegoating.”
  • “[T]his campaign strategy will throw Asian Americans under the bus,” wrote Dr. Ravi Chandra.
  • “[M]y question is ‘Who is the Biden campaign willing to sacrifice along that way?’” said the executive director of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Civic Empowerment.
  • “It is possible to [criticize the Chinese government] in a way that is not racist and not nationalistic,” said the director of progressive group Justice Is Global.
  • “[T]he Biden campaign is peddling a lie about how public-health cooperation with China actually works,” wrote the Atlantic’s Peter Beinart. “A presidential candidate can, of course, attack the Chinese government without attacking Chinese Americans. But doing so requires some rhetorical finesse—something the Biden ad lacks.”
  • “F--- @JoeBiden,” tweeted author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Beijing Biden can pretend to be tough on China, but there is more than four decades worth of material (plus some from the past year) that will make it impossible for him to deceive Americans:

  • “Nor do I see the collapse of the American manufacturing economy, as China, a nation with the impact on the world economy about the size of the Netherlands’ suddenly becomes our major economic competitor,” Biden said in 2000 as he advocated for normalizing trade relations with China.
  • He was wrong, and the American working class paid the price. Yet there he was just last year, still defending China and arguing that the economic threat was nonexistent. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” Biden said. “They’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”
  • During his many years in the Senate and his 8 years as Vice President, Biden failed to stand up to China’s unfair trade practices. Then he opposed President Trump’s efforts to hold China accountable.
  • Biden’s son Hunter even got into business with a Chinese bank, scoring a sweet deal after traveling on Air Force Two to Beijing with his father.
  • This year, when China blamed the U.S. military for the virus and President Trump countered its propaganda campaign by using the term “Chinese virus,” Biden accused him of xenophobia and his campaign laughably claimed it was a racial slur.
  • And of course, Biden spent weeks criticizing President Trump’s January 31 decision to restrict travel from China to combat the coronavirus. Biden accused him of acting “irrationally” and implied it was rooted in racism.

Caught red-handed, Biden is now trying to rewrite history. But no number of negative ads reviled by his supporters can do that

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